At Professional’s Choice, we often run across confusion about how supportive boots like Sports Medicine Boots should be used. For a boot to effectively protect and support your horse’s legs, boots must be properly fitted. Here we’ve put together a list of booting mistakes that are easy to avoid, as well as tips to help maximize your horse’s level of comfort.
- Leaving boots on too long. Protective support boots shouldn’t be left on longer than four hours. Regardless of the boot’s breathability, it’s important for your horse’s leg to be exposed to fresh air after being booted for a maximum of four hours.
- Fastening the suspensory strap incorrectly. The suspensory strap is an integral part of any support boot. It’s what sets these types of boots apart from other boots and polo wraps. The suspensory strap provides the unique feature of supporting the suspensory ligament and providing elasticity so your horse’s leg remains supported yet still unrestricted as it moves. When fastened correctly, the suspensory strap should curve around your horse’s fetlock and cup it like a sling. The end of the strap should come up and across to the front of the boot at a 45-degree angle.
- Purchasing the wrong size. Don’t try to guess your horse’s boot size. Instead, use the sizing chart provided on the package, and take your horse’s measurements, if necessary. A poorly fitting boot can’t perform correctly.
- Not tightening boots enough. The boot should overlap about an inch when you are tightening the straps. If the boot material is only just touching when the straps are fastened and not overlapping, or overlaps more than an inch, then the boot is either too small or too large. When the straps do not overlap, the placement of the hook-and-loop closure on the end of the suspensory strap is effected, making it more likely for the strap to wear out prematurely if your horse interferes by brushing.